Overstimulation of newborn mice leads to behavioral differences and deficits in cognitive performance

Sci Rep. 2012:2:546. doi: 10.1038/srep00546. Epub 2012 Jul 31.


Observational studies in humans have found associations between overstimulation in infancy via excessive television viewing and subsequent deficits in cognition and attention. We developed and tested a mouse model of overstimulation whereby p10 mice were subjected to audio (70 db) and visual stimulation (flashing lights) for six hours per day for a total of 42 days. 10 days later cognition and behavior were tested using the following tests: Light Dark Latency, Elevated Plus Maze, Novel Object Recognition, and Barnes Maze. In all tests, overstimulated mice performed significantly worse compared to controls suggesting increased activity and risk taking, diminished short term memory, and decreased cognitive function. These findings suggest that excessive non-normative stimulation during critical periods of brain development can have demonstrable untoward effects on subsequent neurocognitive function.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal*
  • Cognition*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Maze Learning
  • Memory
  • Mice
  • Photic Stimulation*